Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

The department that embraces disagreement

With seven full-time staff managing more than 25,000 active OneCards and distributing more than 100,000 event tickets a year, the Auxiliary Services Business Office (ASBO) has its hands full. Below, ASBO Manager Brett Collins shares the department’s mantra for growing effective student staff, plus their plans to expand the use of OneCards.

ASBO

Staff in the Auxiliary Services Business Office

What does your department do?
I like to say that we’re three offices in one. Our OneCard Office is the administrative arm of the department—they handle inquiries, administer meal plans and audit meal points. Our Business Office handles money, accepting payments and giving refunds for retail/dining points, parking permits, etc. The Ticket Office manages ticketing for campus events and petty cash for the SGA and campus housing.
UGrad Union 0207What major projects are you working on right now?
We’re looking at expanding the services offered by OneCards, which could potentially mean reissuing updated cards to the entire campus…no small feat!. We’re also moving toward a new system that would enable event tickets to be printed online and scanned at entrances.

What’s it like to work for the Business Office?
It’s really familial – many of our staff have been here for years and we’ve learned how to communicate with one another. Sometimes we disagree, but we embrace that as stemming from caring so much about what we do. We’re very open about sharing ideas and we always find a way to move forward.

We’re also big proponents of hiring and promoting students. Our office typically has 10-15 student employees plus several graduate assistants, and we’re a great stepping stone for them to get full-time employment. One example: we hired student employee Ashley McAvoy as a contractual employee after she graduated, and later brought her on as a full-time regular employee. Just recently she was hired by Enrollment Services. We’ve groomed quite a few other students who have gone on to great positions all over campus. It’s important to us that we give all of our staff opportunities to grow in their careers.

What are your departmental traditions?
We have big potluck lunches throughout the year. Everyone contributes a dish, and it’s great to see our different backgrounds come out in the foods we bring. We also celebrate our new hires with lunches welcoming them to the crew! It’s nice to get them started on the right foot.

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What does your department do better than others?
We pride ourselves in great customer service. A few examples:

A customer and eight of her family and friends rushed to the ticket office after getting stopped at the SECU Arena gate trying to get into the Harlem Globetrotters show. She had accidentally bought tickets for the wrong show day! We were able to transfer her tickets so the whole group could see the show that night. The customer was so relieved she burst into tears!

There’s also a lot of stress and excitement around folks trying to get tickets for commencement. We had a graduate’s mother call because she was having trouble printing her tickets. After going back and forth for an hour, we discovered the source of the problem: her son had given her the wrong Towson email address for accessing the tickets! We confirmed the correct address for her and she printed the tickets just fine.

Whenever someone comes to us stressed and leaves excited, it’s a great thing.

What’s misunderstood about ASBO?
The variety of customer groups we work with is staggering. In the span of one day, our staff could be negotiating with local business owners for the OneCard off-campus program, helping parents make meal plan decisions, talking students through vending machine issues, issuing OneCards to new faculty and working with internal staff to ticket an event.
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Do you think your work makes a difference?
Absolutely. We make it easier for students to achieve their goal of a college degree by offering the tools to live and learn comfortably. Whether it’s easy access to retail points for laundry, permits for parking on campus, or meal plans for eating in the dining halls—we worry about the things students need so they don’t have to.

By Pamela Gorsuch

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